Sacrificial Jar in the Shape of an Archaic Zun

Sacrificial Jar in the Shape of an Archaic Zun  Qing dynasty

Sacrificial Jar in the Shape of an Archaic Zun

Qing dynasty (1644-1912), Qianlong period (1736-1795)
porcelain with blue glaze
5.75 x 3.625 x 3.125 inches
2001.41 a/b

This sacrificial jar is a charming example of the Qing devotion to Chinese history. Its shape derives from an archaic zun, a form first seen during the Shang dynasty (c. 1700 – c. 1050 B.C.E.). Found in burial chambers, the larger Shang zun was a wine vessel used in rituals honoring ancestors. The handles, often in the shape of a ram’s head, formed a more naturalistic type of taotie (a fearsome, imaginary creature of great power that was a favorite motif of the Shang). The monochromatic glaze of the Qing vessel hearkens back to Song-era ceramics. Yet the light blue color is a Qing innovation. This sacrificial jar was most likely a gift for someone in mourning. These Qing wares were made by special order and used by the emperor and members of the imperial family.   

The British Museum, object: 1936.11-18.1
Kerr, p. 27

 

Click here to download our Fall 2021 Brochure